ARTS&CULTURE

2015 12 03

Movie hailing Turkish-Japanese bond premieres in Tokyo

'Ertugrul 1890' tells of rescue of 69 Ottoman sailors off Japanese town, and rescue of 215 Japanese from Tehran 95 years later on orders of then Turkish president

The movie Ertugrul 1890 -- a dramatic tale of Turkish-Japanese historic friendship -- has premiered in Tokyo.

The movie tells of the rescue of 69 Ottoman sailors from the 'Ertugrul', a frigate that sank off an island close to the town of Kushimoto while returning from a goodwill voyage to Japan.

It also depicts the rescue 95 years later of 215 Japanese citizens from Tehran on the orders of Turkey’s then President Turgut Ozal during the Iran-Iraq War in 1985.

The movie's premiere Tuesday night was attended by Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka and Turkish actors Alican Yucesoy, Melis Babadag, Murat Serezli and Kenan Ece, as well as Turkish officials and more than 1,000 Japanese viewers.

Before the film’s screening, messages from both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were read to the audience.

In his message, Erdogan congratulated those who worked on the movie and commemorated the Ertugrul, which had been used to send a friendship message from Sultan Abdulhamid II -- the 34th and last sultan of the Ottoman Empire -- to then Japanese Emperor Meiji.

More than 580 sailors lost their lives when the frigate was caught in a typhoon off the coast of Wakayama prefecture, and subsequently drifted into a reef and sank. The entire saga became a milestone in historic friendly relations between Turkey and Japan.

Director Tanaka told Anadolu Agency last month that he had paid numerous visits to Turkey during the project stage as well as exchanging views with the local people when he was in Kushimoto over the 120th anniversary of the frigate disaster.

Stressing that the movie would reinforce friendship between the two nations, Tanaka had said, "I wanted future generations to know this friendship; I did my best for a movie Turks and Japanese would be moved by."

On Monday, a Turkish Airlines plane -- named after Kushimoto and replicated from the Turkish Airlines plane used in the 1985 rescue -- landed at an airport near Tokyo before the premiere.

Ertugrul 1890 will be screened at movie theaters in Japan on Saturday, and in Turkey on Dec. 25.

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